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Consumer Rights

Consumer Rights for Students

As a student at the University of Plymouth, there will be a number of factors which determined why you chose Plymouth over anywhere else.

Having settled on University of Plymouth and before starting your course, you will have been required to sign a Student Contract.

A copy of the current Student Contract can be found at:

This is a legally binding document and sets out the terms and conditions for both you and the University to adhere to whilst you are completing your studies here at University of Plymouth.

For most students, the journey to completion of their studies and graduating in their chosen field will be smooth. But when things don’t go to plan, it will be necessary to look back at the Student Contract to see if there is fault, and if so, on which side the fault lies.

Overseeing fairness for all parties is the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which works to promote competition for the benefit of consumers, both within and outside the UK (see below). 

It also sets out why a University is obliged to deliver an academic and non-academic experience in line with the one originally offered and which formed the basis for choosing it above all the other options. Additionally it sets out what a University must do if it wishes to make changes to that original offer.

When you are at University:

The University has to comply with a number of requirements from a variety of outside organisations. 

The (CMA) published the guidance, HE providers – advice on consumer protection law, in 2015 and this is still the most up to date guidance document.

It details what a Higher Education (HE) institution should do to ensure that their terms and conditions are fair and equitable, and ensures that they have a clear and robust complaints process for when things go wrong. 

The Office for Students requires all registered HE institutions to have a Student Protection Plan this is a clear statement of what should happen if the University should need to close or change a programme of study, both before and during the time that a student is enrolled on a course.  The University of Plymouth has its own Student Protection Plan, which needs to be read in conjunction with your Student Contract.

The plan is quite detailed and sets out what options are available to students, and how transparent the process should be.

What if things go wrong?

Sometimes things go wrong with course delivery and it is important that you make a complaint to the University as soon as an issue arises. You can do this a number of ways:

Issues/problems can be raised at Programme Committees, School or Faculty Graduate Affairs Committees and Staff/Student Liaison meetings by your course rep or other student representative

The annual Student Perception Questionnaire is an opportunity to provide critical feedback. Most final stage undergraduate students are also asked to participate in the National Student Survey, the results of which are used to help the University improve its support for the student-learning environment

Consult with the Advice Team or a Sabbatical Officer who can deal with matters directly or raise issues through their representation on university committees:

Make a formal complaint using the University’s complaints procedure, which you can read more about on our dedicated complaints page.

Last updated: April 2024